The Public Service Alliance of Canada is pleased that Canada will honour a leading civil rights activist by featuring Viola Desmond on the new $10 bill. CBC described Desmond’s legacy this way:
In 1946, nine years before Rosa Parks historic bus ride in the U.S., Viola Desmond sat in a section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre that was reserved for white people, rather than the designated area for black people upstairs. A police officer arrested her and she spent the night in jail charged with not paying a tax of three cents for a downstairs ticket.
On April 15, 2010, the Nova Scotia lieutenant-governor granted her a posthumous pardon.
“It’s significant and overdue to have a racialized woman on the new bank note, who was a leading activist for civil rights in Canada. For too long, this history has been overlooked,” said Robyn Benson, National President of PSAC. “Desmond’s contribution to the struggle for civil rights in Canada was enormous.”
PSAC-Atlantic’s Acting Regional Executive Vice-President, Colleen Hodder, also celebrated the decision:
“We are delighted and proud that Viola Desmond will be the first Canadian woman on a $10 bill. Being a native of Nova Scotia, her story resonates with many of our members in the Atlantic Region. Viola Desmond’s history and legacy will live on forever – as it should.”